Thursday, October 31, 2019

Now what?

In the middle of the night I strayed from my virginal lair and stole silently into the drawing room to look out the patio windows. The lights glimmered across Sarasota Bay and along the nearby boat slip. The midnight blue was calm and restful.  I ended making a coffee and puttering on my computer for an hour before returning to bed where I slept deeply and dreamlessly until mid-morning.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Subtropical Third World

The raw and sometimes spooky detail attaching a family is discernible to outsiders after quite moderate exposure, allowing for an expiry of the polite niceties and a revival of the more visceral ingredients. The disclosure is accelerated by the comparative lack of generosity which frequently thrives among related persons who themselves have long ago by-passed the extravagance of pretence in favour of what are the more hardened realities of society.

Saturday, October 26, 2019


Given that we haven’t much of anything planned for the next six months - or for the rest of our lives come to think of it - I hesitate to speak disparagingly of travel of any description. The context here is our putatively lacklustre drive from home in Ontario to Longboat Key in Florida for the winter. The journey hardly qualifies as a Mediterranean cruise. Though I have to say in defence of its functionality that the autumn leaves in Shenandoah Valley were spectacular!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Not the same as moving

In spite of the lengthy motor vehicle trundle (driving is my confessed obsession) relocating to Longboat Key for six months is thankfully nothing compared to the industry of a standard move.  The primary difference naturally is that we have only clothing, toiletries, pills and credit cards to transport.  With some hesitation I crow that we've established an orderly routine for this semi-annual undertaking - essentially having trained ourselves to bring less. I should however add that I tote feather pillows (I despise foam) and a lightweight duvet (so much less hassle than having to deal with a sheet and blanket each morning when making the bed).  As well we cart along a Canon printer/scanner for which we paid the astronomic price of $58 at Target years ago. This tireless device may eventually qualify for the "less is more" axiom in view of the regularity we receive almost every communication electronically but there remain sparse occasions on which the printer and scanner are useful. I've given up hauling my electronic piano.  My repertoire is painfully limited.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Rounding the corner...

Looking back upon our enterprise for the past several days is akin to watching a pot about to boil - initially terribly slow, but perceptibly incremental and finally at risk of sudden fruition. I won't say that everything we've done lately is directed to our impending departure but there has been an unexpressed undercurrent associated with looming absence. Gradually the moorings of our present convention are becoming unfastened.  Recent social gatherings have noticeably blended with the spectacle of evaporation. Meanwhile we count these penultimate rallies as markers for our exit.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

2 Flights of Stairs

Climbing stairs is not what I would call my preferred activity.  Increasingly as part of my curmudgeonly evolution I have wilfully identified those undertakings from which I instinctively resile. The scope of abandonment primarily encompasses social conventions but I as willingly condemn other enterprises which for one reason or another I dislike or of which from some more complicated motive I disapprove.  This evening as we dined at Heirloom Café on the Mississippi River I was obliged to descend a winding flight of stairs in order to "check the children"; the main floor loo was occupied. I discovered upon returning to table that my Apple watch had recorded my climb on the two flights of stairs.  This bit of intelligence captures the competing philosophic message surrounding the performances of necessity and preference; that is, some things while undesirable are nonetheless imperative.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cosmetic Change Only

The sum of what I accomplished today - though welcome and relieving - amounts to little more than cosmetic change only. It is perhaps this boring moderation which characterizes most my days.  Perhaps too I must be thankful I haven't anything especially piquant by which to recall my quotidian adventures - having avoided for the time being at least the lottery risk of an unfavourable gambit. Whatever the summation of this similarly abstruse navel gazing the deeper analysis is that there is a want of predictability on balance. Astonishingly this causal chaos is routinely overlooked as we mindlessly equate our existence with the foreseeability of a car wash.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Up the Valley

This afternoon we began our bi-weekly recreational journey along Wolf Grove Road to the Village of Middleville then northward along Hwy 511 to Calabogie. From there we travelled to Matawatchan - Hwys 71 - 41 - 132 - Renfrew - Arnprior - Almonte. The journey is essentially one big circle from Burnstown on Centennial Lake Road to Arnprior. The roads are entirely newly paved and therefore exceedingly comfortable akin to driving on silk.  Passing up and down the rolling hills of the Township of Lanark Highlands was a panoramic treat on this ideal autumn day. The orange colours blended beautifully with the traditional red and yellow contrasting with the verdant coniferous trees. I couldn't help but question the competition of the Gatineaux Hills. This was a superb picture!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Lorna Isobel Johnson (nee Jamieson)

Mrs. Lorna Johnson died October 14, 2019 at Smiths Falls, Ontario. The historic fountain-pen sketch of my acquaintance with Mrs. Johnson is faint but indelible. My primary connection is through her father, Raymond A. Jamieson, QC in whose former law office at 74 Mill Street, Almonte I began my own career. The last time I spoke with Mrs. Johnson was immediately following the death of her father as we reminisced about his lengthy career spanning 1921 - 1976. Enlargement of the dynamic local personalities included Mrs. Johnson’s beloved spouse, Donald Patterson Johnson who, aside from being a maverick accountant, represented John Hawley Kerry. Mr. Kerry had been taken under the arm of Mr. R. A. Jamieson upon his arrival in Almonte many years ago. Mr. Kerry extended similar favour to me upon my arrival in Almonte. I understand that in the 1960s both John H. Kerry and Mrs. Evelyn Jamieson (Lorna’s mother) were separately named Citizen of the Year for the Town of Almonte. Completing this network of inspiring personalities is my acquaintance with Mrs. Johnson’s brother, John G. Jamieson who has that familiar flair which characterizes the family. Mrs. Johnson’s death has revived these important recollections of which I am honoured to have been a part howsoever fleeting.

Monday, October 14, 2019

See the world before you die!

From: pierre
Date: October 13, 2019 at 9:32:25 PM EDT
To: lgwilliamchapman
Subject: greetings

Fortunately they agreed to give me back my deposit and I have booked a trip to Ethiopia in January for 12 days and another one to Botswana in April for 16 days. I am also going to the Galapagos Islands in February. When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, Aristotle Onassis gave her as a wedding present a yacht and it is on that yacht that I will be doing my cruise for one week and it is limited to 16 persons. As such I will be spending 2 days prior to the cruise in Quito and 2 days on my return from the cruise in Guayaquil. In December I will be going for one week to Anguilla in the Caribbean and will stay at the 4 Seasons for R&R with my books.

I should be around tomorrow.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day has been officially celebrated as an annual holiday in Canada since November 6, 1879. Following the proclamation of Governor General of Canada Vincent Massey on January 31, 1957 the particular day on which Thanksgiving ("Action de grâce") is celebrated is now the second Monday in October, being historically a celebration of the harvest season and other blessings. Though the liturgical theme of the day is now often overlooked the spiritual alliance with family persists. In deference to this paramount element Canadians gather for their Thanksgiving feast on any day during the long weekend; however Sunday is considered the most common.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Generic RGB Profile

"Mac OS X will assume a Generic RGB colour space for legacy untagged images that may have been created with an assumed Apple RGB colour space."

It's hard to know just how to identify the perfect picture but we always know when the colour is just right! On this Thanksgiving Weekend it is not unexpected that thousands will be tooling about the countryside to capture a moment of the ephemeral autumn colours. Our own agenda is less motivated. A more earnest project this morning was the purchase of a pair of shorts which fit.  Lately I have succumbed to every wantonness possible - crusty bread and butter, pasta, gooey chocolate tarts, pecan pie, peanut butter, walnuts and honey, maple syrup and anything. It is per chance the misfortune of having lately switched to a new drug for my neuropathy that I am putting on weight but whatever the reason I cannot but align the effect with the cause - that is, not only going up to the trough but also getting into it!

Friday, October 11, 2019


I'm guessing it was the Golden Maples syrup. I was awake throughout the night. To my discredit I was slurping the stuff from the jug before going to bed. Somewhere I recall having read that maple syrup performs magic so I am wholeheartedly committed to the possibility.

"Yes, pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. According to Helen Thomas of the New York State Maple Association, maple syrup has a higher concentration of minerals and antioxidants, yet fewer calories than honey."

Thursday, October 10, 2019


I have long acknowledged these trifling entries of mine constitute a catharsis. After a day such as I have had today it serves enormous release to dwell upon the particulars. Be assured I have no intention of trying your good nature by submerging the discourse into the muck! Instead my resolve is to summarize the events sufficiently to disclose the thrust of what transpired while at the same time permitting me to deliver myself from the emotion. To a degree the enterprise is not far removed from the ceremony of the evening cocktail.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Signs of Imperfection

"The Church of England bore everywhere upon it the signs of human imperfection; it was the outcome of revolution and of compromise, of the exigencies of politicians and the caprices of princes, of the prejudices of theologians and the necessities of the State. How had it happened that this piece of patchwork had become the receptacle for the august and infinite mysteries of the Christian Faith? This was the problem with which Newman and his friends found themselves confronted. Other men might, and apparently did, see nothing very strange in such a situation; but other men saw in Christianity itself scarcely more than a convenient and respectable appendage to existence, by which a sound system of morals was inculcated, and through which one might hope to attain to everlasting bliss."

Excerpt from Giles Lytton Strachey, "Eminent Victorians"

Sunday, October 6, 2019

It's lovely when it works!

As fulfilling and exceptional as so many of our routine performances and daily obligations may be fashioned, it's a treat when things work out without all the effort. A young life dedicated to study, self-improvement and work may yield distinction in a trade or profession, a sense of accomplishment and the reward of money. Some never know when or how to quit but rather insist upon extracting everything they can from the flower to the root. In other instances the endurance is remodelled to the ethereal ointment of borderless care for another. Each of these undertakings and commitments exacts its own price. Certainly the expansion of intellect and skill is an unquestionable application. One cannot but admire the perseverance of another. And charity of any description is redoubtable. But anyone on the wrong side of seventy knows that those erstwhile achievements are poor fodder in the declining years. Where precisely one draws the red line for the diminution of age is always going to be variable. But it is patently clear that no matter what your status or what you've accomplished, when things go swimmingly for no other reason than the sun in the sky, the wind in your hair and the unwitting collision of time, place and company, there's nothing can compete!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Americano, Special and Cookies

At Neat Café in Burnstown, Renfrew County resisting any item on the menu is challenge enough - I swear whoever crafted the narrative was a relative of the poet Wordsworth - but the further beguilement is that you're made to feel part of the family! Unless you can withstand the equivalent of a Jewish mother's invitation to dine, be prepared to submit to a hearty but healthful repast! The particular culprit to whom I refer is Chef Dawn who for the past number of years has been concocting what are unsurpassable meals for locals and visitors in the Ottawa Valley.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Just Killing Time

After a terribly brief repose in the comfortable red leather chair this morning following our 13 km bicycle ride I pushed off to nowhere in particular - unless you include collecting the two blankets from the dry cleaners. The afternoon was upon us. I never like to adjourn the day's proceedings beyond 2:00 pm because everything else becomes impossibly congested and potentially disjointed. There are familiar adventures to be conducted every day, most of which occur predictably at roughly the same times. It is imperative to accomplish a minimum of duties if only for the reason to expiate the guilt of inactivity which might otherwise prevail.

3:00 am

We have a history of arising in the middle of the night, carrying on where we left off basically. The pendulous chimes of the grandfather clock dongs its variable proclamations. We click the buttons of the coffee maker. And carve pieces of crisp apple from Maclaren Orchards in Renfrew. The oak dining table where I position my laptop computer is cluttered with W. H. Bartlett placemat prints and a Crown Darby porcelain plate for the apple slices. We're ready to go!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Don't ask!

When at last I get to what I believe is the end of my day of activity, make myself a cup of espresso coffee and position myself at my desk to review my calendar and whatever it was I intended to do throughout the day, the dilemmas of politicians and real estate agents are at the outer extreme of my compass. The incredible incompetency and inadequacy of some of those people amounts to hyperbolic intrusion in the lives of others.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Moving onward...

Nothing it appears will impair our intended transit! Promoted by the finest thread of eruption we are responding to those faint glimmers of the future by preparing ourselves. The enterprise was this morning exceedingly functional. We clinched one undertaking after another not only as desired but at times better than hoped. In the midst of the undisturbed agenda was a momentary diversion which proved mildly annoying as it rekindled the plaintiff differences between mankind - the inescapable frustrations which make one wonder why do anything! But I plodded on propelled by purely rational resolve - the exclusivity of age - to ignore the competing restrictions.